During the US presidential election campaign, the Embassy of Ukraine in the United States established direct contacts with those who are likely to work in the future president’s Administration. The emphasis was on defense and foreign policy. This was stated by Valeriy Chaly, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Ukraine to the USA, at press briefing via Skype at Ukraine Crisis Media Center within the framework of the project “Diplomacy without Borders”, supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. “It’s not a problem for us to establish contacts and to convey messages. Our challenge is to keep Ukraine in focus with the issues of the Middle East, Syria, Iran and so on. While working with the transitional team, we try to highlight the importance of European and Ukrainian issues,” he noted.
According to the Ambassador, they have held personal meetings with three out of four short-listed nominees for the US Secretary of State. They discussed support for Ukraine and the importance of not losing pace and quickly establishing a dialogue with the new team. “But there is another problem. The USA does not currently have a well-defined medium- or long-term strategy in foreign policy and security concerning our region. Concentration on personalities is good but not enough. It is much more important what vision the new team will form, what steps it will take,” explained Valeriy Chaly.
The Ambassador does not think that the US policy will be pro-Russian. “The pro-Russian position is, to put it mildly, an exaggeration. Personalities have impact, especially on the President and his closest advisers. But there are common US interests and there is balanced influence of different structures in decision making – the Congress, intelligence community and defense structures, etc. When the elected President studies the real situation, establishes his first contacts – this is what will influence the medium-term prospects. That is why we try to communicate the information, including on Crimea, to the people who influence the decision,” specified Valeriy Chaly.
The Ambassador informed that the Embassy is preparing the visit of President Poroshenko to the US. Mr. Chaly called the ability to conduct such a visit a very ambitious task, because it will be soon after the inauguration in January. But he does not consider this task unrealistic. “What is important for us is not to know the precise month when it will happen, but to establish contacts at the highest level and then go on to discuss the agenda, coordinate actions as strategic partners,” said Valeriy Chaly.